Aleksandras Macijauskas is considered to be one of the most influential representatives of “The Lithuanian School of Photography” movement. During the seventies, he along with Antanas Sutkus, Romualdas Rakauskas, Algimantas Kunčius and other notable Lithuanian photographers shaped this new and distinct movement. Russian art historians named this unique movement “The Lithuanian School of Photography”.
How is this photography movement unique? Critics of the day isolated its’ most distinct attributes – photography as a means of recording, psychological human interest, long term single subject multiplication in large runs and series, as well as the chronicling of daily village life.
This village life is poignantly depicted in the 1971 photo “At Lithuanian Flea Markets, #84, Prienai”. This particular piece from the photographer’s most recognized series vividly reveals the basket craftsmen at market and their distinct personal characteristics.
Why was it of such interest to Macijauskas to chronicle the daily village life? “It was important for us to record the ethnic village life of the day, for many of us thought then that it may not last for much longer…”, remembers Macijauskas. Today, the older generations of photographers say that they ceased to create such long series of depictions of village life, since the lifestyle of the villagers has changed and modernized in the last decades. And so these particular photographs have become an important ethnographical record.
And where is the original thought and it’s artistic value in this photograph? This creation of Macijauskas not only represents “the Lithuanian School of Photography” movement but also reveals its’ authors unique signature. His much used wide angle lens composition takes in a larger view, perverts reality forms and so the composition becomes expressive and dynamic. The daily depiction of the flea market is especially dramatic due to the dark tone of the photograph. Macijauskas would coax these tones through the traditional printing process and painstaking retouching and as such these photos are considered single creations and are quite valued.